Twenty New York lawmakers are calling on the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences to withdraw the Emmy Award given to Governor Andrew Cuomo for knowingly lying about the number of elderly deaths in nursing homes in the state.
The local assembly members drafted a letter demanding that the Academy president withdraw the award from Cuomo, who last year, came to be labeled a hero for his actions in the face of the pandemic.
“People have been waiting, now more than ever, to see those in politics and media put aside their partisanship and do the right thing for everyday people, and now more than ever, the Academy has the opportunity to show the world that what the governor did was wrong,” said Republican Assemblyman Christopher Tague.
“The governor made a bad decision that caused thousands of people to lose their lives and then tried to cover it up – if we all don’t call it terrible, I don’t know what is,” he said in the missive.
“I hope he lets go of the Emmy he [Cuomo] was awarded to show him and the public that the actions he took to try to cover up one of the most terrible tragedies our state has ever seen will not go without consequences,” he added.
In November, the Television Academy presented Cuomo with the International Emmy Award “in recognition of his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and his masterful use of television to inform and calm people around the world.” But now, Cuomo’s image is fading after he admitted to hiding figures to evade a federal investigation.
Today, both Democrats and Republicans in New York are calling for actions ranging from an investigation of the governor to prosecution for obstruction of justice.
The letter comes after the governor’s top secretary admitted that data on coronavirus deaths in nursing homes was intentionally withheld.
According to reports, the governor’s aide Melissa DeRosa admitted that the administration intentionally kept the nursing home data secret for fear of possible repercussions from the Department of Justice and political fallout.
An opinion piece in the Red Lands Daily Facts recalls that Emmy awards have been pulled nine times and Cuomo’s case should be no exception.
“The Academy should find a way to make that Emmy award not happen, and the next time they want to honor a politician at press conferences, they should probably wait to see how it ends before voting,” notes the article’s author Susan Shelley.
Lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, have called for an independent investigation into the governor’s handling of nursing homes. This because much of the debate over the elderly death count has centered on a controversial Health Department directive on March 25th of last year informing nursing homes that they could not refuse to admit patients who tested positive for COVID-19.
A report by New York District Attorney Letitia James notes that at least 4,000 elderly residents died after Cuomo’s memo, and stated that this directive “may have put residents at increased risk of harm in some facilities.”
A court order and the State Attorney General’s report forced the State of New York to acknowledge that the death toll of nursing home residents is nearly 15,000, nearly double what was initially reported (8,500).